Note: This article deals with some of the specific mechanics of a blockchain network. You may want to familiarize yourself with the internal mechanics of blockchain networks before reading
A question that many people in the crypto community have been asking about SIRIN OS™ is whether or not it will enable FINNEY™ to function as a full node, or a light node by default. It’s a question that we grappled with for quite some time as we were developing FINNEY™ — how SIRIN OS™ services will participate in the blockchain?
A node, for those who aren’t aware, is an application that is storing a complete version of the blockchain, and is being constantly and consistently updated with the new blocks that have been added to the chain. A light node is a node that operates just as a full node, but with only downloading the block headers, and therefore requires much less storage space, but just as much system resources.
Nodes, both full and light, need to verify, store, and rebroadcast all of the network blocks. Due to the speed of the Ethereum network, these interactions require that the node is constantly active and constantly transmitting and receiving.
All of the advantages related to being a full node revolve around actual participation within the network. Only full nodes are able to signal for changes to the network, or mine blocks, and a light node, while it requires less storage space, provides no additional functionality, other than being able to independently confirm/verify blockchain requests and transactions. These factors are significant in the daily operation of the blockchain network, but they’re not part of the primary function for FINNEY™.
As we evaluated the pros and cons for setting up FINNEY™ as a node by default, it became clear to us that there are good nodes and there are bad nodes. We define a bad node as a node with poor inter-connectivity with other nodes, poor geographic diversity with its neighbors and/or poor network infrastructure.
In a case like this, the Bad node would need to receive block updates from miners who are located across the globe. The distance could create a few seconds of delay between the confirmation of a mined block and receipt of the information to the node. While a few seconds delay doesn’t sound significant, keep in mind that Ethereum blocks are mined roughly every 12 seconds. So if blocks are consistently mined in a location across the world, the node could wind up being a few blocks behind.
By contrast, a good node is one that is connected to a well distributed network of peers that is maintained in order to communicate new blocks throughout the network and communicate those blocks throughout a diverse geographic area. What this does is increases the global distribution for any given block, and significantly reduces the chance that the block will wind up as a side chain. Additionally, and by association, it also significantly increases the chances of a block being accepted into the mainchain on the blockchain network.
FINNEY™ was developed as an ultra-secure and mass-market blockchain smartphone. If users were to attempt to use FINNEY™ as a node, it would put a substantial strain on the battery, and significantly reduce both the available storage space as well as its battery life. Setting up FINNEY™ as a light node would enable the user to query certain network states, such as account balance, without as much of a resource footprint, but it would do so in an inefficient way.
It is for this reason that FINNEY™ will not be just operating through good nodes, but great nodes that have the internal network communication to be able to fast-track mined blocks throughout the globe, but to also strategically spread out user requests (such as balance queries, or TX reports) throughout their network to reduce the load or strain on any single node.
FINNEY™ was built with the masses in mind, and will be able to benefit from a curated network of nodes for optimal blockchain interactions.